Page 1378 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 3 May 2016

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The common assessment method would be applied in a hierarchical way so that the conservation status of a species or ecological community is first assessed at a national scale. Species and ecological communities that are currently listed as threatened would be transitioned to an agreed threat category on the ACT threatened species list, either nationally or a regional category.

Where a nomination about a species or ecological community is likely to be listed as nationally threatened, the scientific committee must undertake consultation on the nomination as part of the assessment process. This is currently an optional process but is required for national listing.

The current act provisions require both a listing advice and a conservation advice to be prepared by the scientific committee. These inform decisions by the minister on listings and on actions needed to be taken once the species or ecological community has been listed. The provisions in the bill incorporate the listing advice requirements into the conservation advice so that only one advice is prepared. The bill also provides that the ACT can adopt a conservation advice prepared by other jurisdictions where this is appropriate.

There are also provisions relating to providing increased flexibility about when an action plan is required to be prepared for threatened species and ecological communities. Under the new arrangements for action plans the scientific committee is responsible for advising the minister that an action plan is needed and, following a review and if appropriate, that an action plan is no longer needed. This will allow resources for preparing action plans to be provided for those species of greatest concern in the ACT. For example, a species may be critically endangered but only frequents the ACT irregularly. In these cases the conservation advice would be sufficient.

A range of transitional provisions have been included. Primary amongst these are provisions that allow species and ecological communities currently listed under the Nature Conservation Act to stay in their current categories until processes are undertaken to transfer them to a more appropriate category on the list, if necessary. Consequential amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2007 included in this bill update the definitions and categories used in schedule 4 as they relate to environmental impact assessment of threatened species and ecological communities.

I commend the Nature Conservation Amendment Bill 2016, along with its consequential changes to the Planning and Development Act 2007, to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Lawder) adjourned to the next sitting.

Retirement Villages Amendment Bill 2016

Mr Rattenbury, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement, a Human Rights Act compatibility statement and a copy of the review of the Retirement Villages Act 2012.

Title read by Clerk.

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